Rare Fireplace Andirons

What are andirons? These fireplace accessories are horizontal iron bars across which logs are laid in an open hearth to facilitate burning.

Fireplace Andirons

Fireplace Andirons

These devices have been replaced by plate steel or aluminum fire grates which are often found in prefabricated masonry fireplaces these days. In the past, andirons were used as a rest for a roasting spit or may have a cup-shaped top to hold porridge.

An andiron usually stands on short legs. Typically it is attached or connected to its twin with a guard at the front of the wood fireplace. This guard is made ofsteel, bronze, iron, copper, silver, brass, or even gold. Sometimes the guards are decorated with patterns such as animals, monsters or mythical creatures (gargoyles). In the past, they were referred to by the creatures depicted on them. So that a set of andirons with dogs on them was referred to simply as a set of andirons. Eventually, rare fireplace andirons came to
be known as firedogs.

Types of Andirons

In the past, firedogs or andirons would have a second horizontal bar above the fire which could be used as a rest for a roasting spit. There were also some andirons that included a pot or bowl for cooking in next to the fireplace. Although some of these types of fireplace andirons are available these days, cooking over the fireplace isn’t recommended in the USA.

This is because combustion gases and smoke will almost inevitably find their way into the living area if fireplace doors are left open continuously. Although andirons and ornamental fireplace inserts enhance your fireplace ownership experience, they are actually not necessary for its basic function.

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